Thursday, 14 June 2012

Yashin - Sushi Gems

Last week was tough; physical pain, lack of sleep, emotional torture, overwhelming sense of insecurity, over-spending, PowerShot died, Tsonga losing to Djokovic... in short, my fuse jumped. I'm starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel, however, and to cheer myself on, it's Yashin time.

This cosy sushi bar on High Street Ken oozes elegance; black rabbit lamps against white walls and shiny green tiles with neon lights that spells Yashin's belief "Without soy sauce". I guess the owner cringe the same way I do when he saw people drown everything in soy sauce. The style and elegance come with a hefty pricetag though, which is why I came for the more wallet-friendly lunch. All served with miso soup and house salad.

Six itamae working at the sushi counter. Six. All diligently plating up dish after dish of immaculate sushi gems. I tried, I really did try resisting the appetisers. But they looked so good...

Kaki Su fresh maldon wild oysters with spicy tosazu jelly
These had a remarkably clean taste to them. Each time the crisp sac lets out the heavy flavours of  creamy minerals, the jelly and sauce would leap in to neutralise the powerful gush and tame the zinc in. The droplets of chilli oil were mild and added a louder finishing touch to the slurp. Graceful.

Parrot fish with Spicy Yuzu
Parrot fish has a slightly tougher skin with firm flesh, but unlike the meek flavours of bream and bass, this was succulent with lots of sweetness locked in. The yuzu sauce was gentle, not spicy, more like a underlying heat that came afterwards. Again, balance.

Omakase Eight
If Shiori was presenting sushi fine art, Yashin definitely exhibits impressionism. 

The salmon with deep-fried sushi rice stood out; the crunchy case was slowly softened by the ponzu jelly, and the crisp was a nice change - maybe the rice crispies in sushi idea wasn't so odd. Seared toro with bonito flakes, as expected, dissolved in mouth with trails of fish oils. There's so much pleasure in having this in my mouth...
Needless to say, the sushi rice was prepared to meticulous perfection; each grain of rice with the most gentle hint of vinegar, shaped firmly with on-the-dot pressure, but maintaining the rounded textures that was almost gentle on tongue.


The others were tuna with mustard dressing, seared yellowtail with sundried tomato, sea bass with strawberry, trout with marinated carrots, grouper with chopped tomato. Each piece was brimming with finesse. Tuna roll with cucumber and rocket was inevitably less exciting, and I thought the salmon roll (with lunch set) was creamier.

Salmon Sushi Lunch - 5 pieces of salmon nigiri and spicy salmon roll
This set lunch is a budget version of the omakase; bonito, sundried tomato paste, mustard dressing, chopped garlic and ponzu jelly, just all on salmon. The beautiful streaks of fat aside, it was mesmerising how the fish melted onto the sushi rice; as if it was salmon sashimi was meshed into paste to mingle with each grain of rice, and melted into the most harmonious mouthful of oceanic bliss.

Each piece was distinctively different. My favourite was the sundried tomato paste, its subtle smokiness slowly pushed through from the salmon and slowly transpired onto the rice. Absolutely gorgeous.

I was hoping for some flamed seared ones too, but not this time.

The dedication and persistence at Yashin are incredible. The angle at which the itamae blow-torch the sushi differs for every kind of fish, and so does the slicing pattern and the depth of each score. And all these efforts were so evident, I could taste it. I could taste the perfect intricate balance, and how one tiny piece of accompaniment on the fish played a huge part in the balance. 


I've had sushi, plenty of it. Just nothing like this. Yashin takes sushi to a whole new level.


Yashin
1A Argyll Road
Kensington
London
W8 7DB
Tel: 0207 938 1536

You may also like: ShioriAtari-yaYoshino


Yashin Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

4 comments:

  1. oh my gosh, i think i need to book pronto. you have my mouth watering!!

    doesn't seem like a good few weeks for you with bad luck? hope it all goes away soon! :)

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  2. ooo.. let me know if you prefer this to Sushi of Shiori after your visit... I can't quite make my mind up:)

    I think I'm just having a moan, holiday feels ages away and the british summer is not living up to my expectation...

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  3. I will def let you know, but I must confess I like a bit of soya sauce & wasabi with my sushi! lol.

    British summer is never that great anymore, maybe you should take a trip back to hk? hehe. I'm going next wk, but won't be much of a holiday as I'm sorting out my wedding stuff. But at least I'll be eating some yummy food!

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  4. Congrats on getting married!! I hope you don't get too stressed out sorting your wedding:) Super jealous of you going back to HK too... I miss home

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